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Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor representatives. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the United States Department of Labor, and conducts research into how much families need to earn to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.[5]

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed 1884
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters Postal Square Building
Washington, D.C.
Employees 2,500[1]
Annual budget $609 million [2]
Agency executives
  • William J. Wiatrowski (Acting), Commissioner [3]
  • William J. Wiatrowski[4], Deputy Commissioner[3]

The BLS data must satisfy a number of criteria, including relevance to current social and economic issues, timeliness in reflecting today’s rapidly changing economic conditions, accuracy and consistently high statistical quality, impartiality in both subject matter and presentation, and accessibility to all. To avoid the appearance of partiality, the dates of major data releases are scheduled more than a year in advance, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget.[6]



The Bureau of Labor was established in the Department of the Interior by the Bureau of Labor Act (23 Stat. 60), June 27, 1884, to collect information about employment and labor. Carroll D. Wright was the first U.S. Commissioner of Labor. It became an independent (sub-Cabinet) department by the Department of Labor Act (25 Stat. 182), June 13, 1888. It was incorporated, as the Bureau of Labor, into the Department of Commerce and Labor by the Department of Commerce Act (32 Stat. 827), February 14, 1903. Finally, it was transferred to the Department of Labor in 1913 where it resides today.[7][8] BLS is now headquartered in the Postal Square Building near the United States Capitol and Union Station.

BLS is headed by a commissioner who serves a four-year term from the date he or she takes office. The most recent Commissioner of Labor Statistics was Erica Groshen, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 2, 2013 and sworn in as the 14th Commissioner of Labor Statistics on January 29, 2013, for a term that ended on January 27, 2017.[9][10] William Wiatrowski, Deputy Commissioner of the BLS, is serving as Acting Commissioner until the next commissioner is sworn in.

Statistical reportingEdit

Surveys, Indices, and Statistics produced by the BLS fall into 4 main categories:[11]


Employment and unemploymentEdit

Unemployment measurements by the BLS from 1950 - 2010

Compensation and working conditionsEdit


Statistical regionsEdit

Data produced by the BLS is often categorized into groups of states known as Census Regions. There are 4 Census Regions, which are further categorized by Census Division as follows:

Northeast Region

  • New England Division: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • Middle Atlantic Division: New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

South Region

  • South Atlantic Division: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • East South Central Division: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
  • West South Central Division: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Midwest Region

  • East North Central Division: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
  • West North Central Division: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

West Region

  • Mountain Division: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • Pacific Division: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "What BLS Does". Bureau of Labor Statistics. February 9, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ "BLS 2016 Operating Plan". US Department of Labor. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  3. ^ a b "Bureau of Labor Statistics: Senior Staff". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2017-01-30. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  4. ^ "William J. Wiatrowski, Deputy Commissioner". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2017-01-30. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Cohen, Patricia (2016-11-03). "How Economic Data Is Kept Politics-Free". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  7. ^ "Records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]". National Archives. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  8. ^ "Overview : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  9. ^ Presidential Nominations, 112th Congress (011 - 2012), PN1404-112, Library of Congress,
  10. ^ Senate Confirms Erica Groshen to Head Bureau of Labor Statistics, by Jeffrey Sparshott at Wall Street Journal]
  11. ^
  12. ^ "American Time Use Survey". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  13. ^ "Current Employment Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  14. ^ "Local Area Unemployment Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  15. ^ "Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (State & Metro Area) Home Page". 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  16. ^ "Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Home Page". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  17. ^ "Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages". 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  18. ^ "Business Employment Dynamics Home Page". 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  19. ^ "Mass Layoff Statistics Home Page". 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  20. ^ "Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  21. ^ "Overview of BLS Productivity Statistics". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit